The word Tribe denotes a group of people living in primitive and ruthless conditions. These tribes are a social group living in a fixed territory having no such specialization of functions and the people living in these social groups are known as tribes or tribal people. Tribes also have several sub groups and collectively they are known as ‘Tribal Society’. Tribes are the inhabitants of forests since pre history and even in this modern world this trend is followed by many people. Tribes constitute around 8.6 percent of the total Indian population, and of the total tribal population around 80 percent are found in Central India.
The most common problems relate to the tribal people living in peninsular India and the north-eastern tribes. The separate systems were approved by the Constituent Assembly formed at the time of independence after receiving recommendations that the distinct ‘community structures’ and ‘attitudes’ of the tribes in the two regions could be treated in a common law. Under the 2006 Forest Rights Act, providing land rights to forest-dwelling communities of the country, only 15 lakh complainants out of the 39,56,262 cases filed; were given the legal recognition to their property. The tribes have their own social problems. They are traditional and bound by customs. Due to lack of education and development they are superstitious and believe in outmoded and meaningless practices which can be harmful at times.
The culture of the Tribal communities is entirely different from the mainstream or civilized society. The customs, practices and traditions followed by the civilised people are not understood by the tribal people and they become suspicious of the civilised people. Different religions are trying to influence these tribal people by their religion and this is being done from the British colonial period. Some foreign Christian missionaries in British rule attempted to proliferate their religion in some of the Tribal areas.In several tribal areas, mass conversion to Christianity had taken place during the British period. While the missionaries have been the pioneers in education and opened hospitals in tribal areas, they have also been responsible for alienating the tribes from their culture. Christian missionaries have many a time instigated the tribes to revolt against the Indian government.
Health and sanitation is becoming a huge problem for tribal people because of illiteracy and ignorance and they are not ready to welcome the modern concepts of health and sanitation. Tribal people have another problem that they still believe in superstitions and super natural powers and believe that diseases are caused by these super natural powers. They do not even appreciate the modern ways of diagnosis and have their own traditional means of cure.